‘How do I give these characters the ending they deserve?’ A Guest Post by Den Patrick

girlWe are delighted to welcome Den Patrick back to the Gollancz Blog for a special guest post on his stunning fantasy trilogy The Erebus Sequence

This is the end, my only friend, the end

Of our elaborate plans, the end

Of everything that stands, the end

– End of the Night by the Doors

The paperback of The Girl on the Liar’s Throne is released this Thursday, 13th October, bringing an end to The Erebus Sequence. Endings are hard and for me as the author there is the acknowledgement that I may well never write any more stories set in Landfall. While I can revisit this curious creation, complete with strands of Science Fantasy, Gothic Horror, and swashbuckling largesse, it will be as a reader and not the crafter of future tales.

Strange things happen when you spend time with people engaged in a group endeavor. The people I spent the most time with are of course the fictional ones that populate The Erebus Sequence. I’ll miss Lucien despite his impulsivity, furious anger, and struggles with entitlement. Dino was always easy to spend time with, his straight-forward approach, deep loyalty, and deadly skill at arms made him a good companion. Virmyre lightened the mood with his deadpan teasing and barbed comments, just as Stephania Prospero brought a steely resolve and a dash of glamour. And there is Anea, enigmatic, decent and tireless. There are many more characters I could write of, and I encourage you to meet with them and see how their lives entwine and intersect with one another.

All things come to an end and so it goes with The Erebus Sequence. The original conclusion written for The Girl on the Liar’s Throne is not the denouement that made the final edit. There was a feeling from some early readers that the final chapters were too harsh, at odds with the values espoused by the protagonists of the novels. And so the question became how do I give these characters the ending they deserve?

I turned the question over to the characters rather than wrestle with the problem alone. What were their motivations? What values and beliefs did they cling to? This wasn’t just the fate of Landfall I was deciding, but the end of three long years of work. It’s all well and good to plot a novel and join the dots between ‘this thing happens’ and ‘that thing happens’, but if the characters lack the motivation then the story loses authenticity. Characters become functions, rather than fully realised people.

And so chapter 46 was born, The Revelation Coda, where the survivors of the novel decide how they will conclude matters and live with the consequences. Did I get the ending right? Well, that’s for you to decide.

Den Patrick, Jen Williams, Peter Newman, Francesca Haig and Stephen Aryan will be appearing at Waterstones Piccadilly on Wednesday 12th October to discuss their books and all things Fantasy. Find out more here.

The Girl on the Liar’s Throne is out now in paperback and ebook.